The Rose Of Lancaster Stakes is the highlight of Haydock’s Saturday card and Owen Burrows’ Frankel colt Elwazir was cut from 7/2 to 11/4 at BetVictor in the opening exchanges on Tuesday. There is rain – no honestly there is – forecast for the track on Friday and Saturday and the selection is unproven on soft ground but, granted good to soft or better ground, I would be disappointed if he didn’t go very close.
Fast ground is the order of the day at Pontefract this afternoon, however, where the feature is the £20,000 mile-and-a-half handicap. If Reverend Jacobs (3.50) is more amenable to restraint than he was at Newmarket on Friday, he will be very hard to beat.
The selection was still good enough to win on the July course and that was his first start for the best part of two months. Tor made all to win at Hamilton last time and a strong gallop will help the selection who has a good draw in stall two to chase Tor who is drawn next to the rail in stall one.
Ventura Storm (2.50) must put behind a modest run on tapeta at Newcastle last time, but if he returns to the form of his York second on debut he is likely to make it third time lucky. The step up to this stiff 6f should suit and he receives 6lbs from previous winner Watchmyeverymove.
Fingal’s Cave was well backed before his run at Catterick on Tuesday and it is fascinating that he has been declared to run 24 hours later for Phil Kirby such was the weight of money for the 6-y-old. If he gets the green light to run this afternoon it might be worth taking the hint, but in his likely absence I feel Alejandro (4.50) can get his head in front for David Loughnane.
The selection is a 9-y-old but hinted that his turn was near when third at Beverley last time from a 1lb lower mark. He should go well but do keep an eye out for the well-handicapped Fingal’s Cave if he makes a quick reappearance.
Arcavallo (5.25) is fitted with cheekpieces for the first time and he ran his best race of a light campaign when third at Doncaster on rain-softened ground last time. He did win on fast ground as a juvenile, however, and he is drawn next to the rail in stall one.
At Kempton this evening Rare is likely to be all the rage having shown distinct promise when finishing runner up at Lingfield (turf) on debut. Sir Michael Stoute’s filly receives 6lbs from Elasia (7.40) but I was quite taken with the Newcastle success of the Roger Varian-trained filly and it should be noted that the second on that occasion – Ben Vrackie – has since won by 11 lengths.
Magellan did us a favour when scoring over 1m 3f here last month and today’s additional furlong is less an inconvenience than his 7lbs rise. Atticus Boy is chasing a four-timer and must go close from his good draw in stall two, but this represents a step up in class. The each way vote goes to Continuum (8.10) who has a poor draw to overcome, but is 7lbs better off with Magellan for less than three lengths. Tonight’s additional furlong will certainly suit, but he does need a proper test of stamina at this trip for Peter Hedger.
Just In Time (8.40) was all out to score at Sandown last time but he has only been raised 1lb for that effort and he is taken to reverse recent C&D form with Age Of Wisdom on 2lbs better terms.
I am convinced there is more to come from Come On Come On but Nathan (4.00 Chepstow) travelled like much the best horse in the race before his stamina gave way at Newbury over 12f last time and the drop back in trip to a mile-and-a-quarter will suit.
Geetanjali looks in the handicapper’s grip although Michael Bell puts up 7lbs claimer Jacob Mitchell this afternoon. Preference is for Fresh Terms (4.30) who is another who may appreciate dropping back in trip, having finished runner up at Yarmouth last time from this mark. Harry Bentley keeps the ride on Ralph Beckett’s filly.